ESPN’s Bowen: Best potential landing spots for Budda Baker, DeAndre Hopkins

Jun 3, 2023, 3:55 PM

Budda Baker #3 of the Arizona Cardinals looks on during the second quarter against the Carolina Pan...

Budda Baker #3 of the Arizona Cardinals looks on during the second quarter against the Carolina Panthers at State Farm Stadium on November 14, 2021 in Glendale, Arizona. The Panthers defeated the Cardinals 34-10. (Photo by Kelsey Grant/Getty Images)

(Photo by Kelsey Grant/Getty Images)

As the NFL season rapidly approaches, many teams are fitting together the final puzzle pieces of their rosters.

The Arizona Cardinals and a couple of their star players have been hot topics this offseason.

Wideout DeAndre Hopkins was, in a surprising move, released by the team and is a free agent eligible to sign with whatever team he pleases. The second big name involved in trade rumors has been safety Budda Baker.

Baker requested a trade from the Cardinals in April but said he’ll be back among the organization “when it’s time to be there.”

As the Cardinals are projected by many to finish at the bottom of the NFC West, ESPN’s Matt Bowen gave the best potential landing spots for both Hopkins and Baker.

Hopkins is 30 years old and is still one of the best wide receivers in the NFL. Bowen sees his best fit in Kansas City with the Chiefs.

One issue is many of the title-contending teams that he may want to play for do not have the cap space that a top player at the position typically would make.

Hopkins will have to make a decision on taking a large contract with a team that still has the cap space to make the deal or taking a lesser deal with a team he thinks can win it all.

There will be multiple teams with interest in Hopkins. The Bills fit here. The Jets, Patriots and Cowboys, too. Maybe even the Browns. With the Chiefs and coach Andy Reid, however, he could be used as a boundary target for Patrick Mahomes or work inside on leveled concepts to attack schemed voids in the coverage. Hopkins would join a title contender and upgrade the league’s best pass game.

Baker, 27, signed a four-year, $59 million contract with Arizona and will become an unrestricted free agent in 2025. He is highly regarded as one of the best safeties in the league and his trade request could be a business move for more money in a contract.

He has been a captain and an anchor for the Cardinals’ defense for many years and with J.J. Watt’s retirement, Arizona may need the leadership for the younger regime.

Bowen believes the five-time Pro Bowler and three-time All-Pro player would best fit in Philadelphia with the Eagles.

The Eagles signed safety Terrell Edmunds in free agency and drafted rookie Sydney Brown in Round 3, but would general manager Howie Roseman take a swing to land a veteran? Baker, who requested a trade in April, is one of the league’s most urgent safeties. He has incredible play speed and would fit as a top-down defender in split-field coverages under new coordinator Sean Desai.

Baker had at least 98 tackles over the past five seasons, and he creates plays on the ball in coverage, too.

Presented By
Western Governors University

Arizona Cardinals

Dante Stills...

Tyler Drake

New era notes: Cardinals’ Dante Stills impressing as snaps pile up

Rookie Dante Stills is flying under the radar as he slowly but surely gets the chance to prove himself along the defensive line.

12 hours ago

Christian Matthew at training camp...

Tyler Drake

Cardinals release CB Christian Matthew, 2 others from 53-man roster

The Arizona Cardinals released cornerbacks Kris Boyd and Christian Matthew and offensive lineman Ilm Manning on Monday.

17 hours ago

Presented By...

Arizona Sports Video

Video: Bickley Blast: Why Arizona fans should be optimistic after weekend of Cardinals, Diamondbacks losses

It was a weekend of losses for sports teams across the Valley, including Team U.S.A. in the Ryder Cup, but Dan Bickley explains why Arizona sports fans should be optimistic heading into a new week. Video: Felisa Cárdenas/Arizona Sports Presented By

22 hours ago

Michael Wilson celebrates...

Tyler Drake

Cardinals still show progress despite lopsided loss to 49ers

The scoreboard read in favor of the 49ers, but there were still positives to take away from the Cardinals' third loss of 2023.

2 days ago

Joshua Dobbs attempts a pass...

Arizona Sports

Rapid Reactions: Plenty for Cardinals to build off of after Week 4 loss to 49ers

Arizona Sports’ hosts, reporters and editors share their main takeaways from the Cardinals’ Week 4 loss to the 49ers.

2 days ago

Jonathan Gannon runs off the field...

Dan Bickley

Jonathan Gannon, Cardinals earning respect even in defeat

For a guy with one victory as an NFL head coach, Jonathan Gannon is enjoying a lengthy honeymoon in Arizona. He deserves it.

2 days ago

ESPN’s Bowen: Best potential landing spots for Budda Baker, DeAndre Hopkins